If you run a campaign, you spend a healthy chunk of time interacting with volunteers, candidates, and voters. But who deals with completed voter registration forms and the petitions all of your supporters signed? Meet the local election administrator.
While you may get through a cycle without ever needing the election administrator's help, it's important to have a positive relationship if a situation arises. As a former election administrator, here are a few tips to make sure you're in good with the people who are processing your (very valuable) data:
- Get to know them. When things get weird or crazy, you want to have a relationship with the election official (and the people who work in the office). It'll help avoid misunderstandings and get you the benefit of the doubt when you have a problem or concern to raise.
- Fill out your forms. No one likes dealing with incomplete or messy data. Make it easy on the election officials by submitting forms with all the required info completed. How? Train your team to review forms before a voter leaves, and make sure the required fields are filled out and legible.
- Deliver the goods. Yes, you will definitely show up at their offices with stacks of paper they then have to enter. But sometimes you might show up with a treat just to say thanks (Flowers! Brownies! Balloons!).
- Respect deadlines and office hours. Ask the election office what the best time is to submit your forms. My guess is that it isn't 4:55 Friday afternoon. If you show interest in making their lives easier, it goes a long way for building that relationship.
With these simple guidelines and you're on your way to a healthy relationship with your local election administration official.
Got tips for building and creating relationships with the folks you work with? Let us know in the comments.
Whitney May is the State Liaison for the Voting Information Project at NOI.